Kennedy Center plans Iberian festival, new musical

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 4, 2014 at 11:24 am •  Published: March 4, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Artists from Spain and Portugal will be a centerpiece of the Kennedy Center's next season, along with a first for the performing arts giant: its own new musical.

The 2014-2015 season, announced Tuesday, includes an ambitious slate of theater, dance and music totaling more than 2,000 performances beginning in the fall.

The center's next major international festival — after past series focused on Japan, the Arab world and Nordic arts — will come in March 2015. "Iberian Suite: Arts Remix Across Continents" will showcase some of the best artists from Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, as well as artists from Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere, said Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser.

"There's really, really amazing art that's emerged from Spain and Portugal, but very importantly, that art has also influenced so much of the world," he said. "So it's art that goes beyond its own borders and crosses many continents."

Beyond the performing arts, the three-week festival also will include visual art exhibits, film, literature, architecture and cuisine from the Iberian peninsula to show the cultural roots of Spain and Portugal that have spread around the world.

This is the final season planned under Kaiser, who is stepping down in August after 13 years leading the cultural center that serves as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Deborah Rutter, the head of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will become the center's next president as its new season begins.

The center's budget totals nearly $200 million, and a record $124 million is devoted to programming.

The new season includes new works in theater, opera, music and dance, Kaiser said. It will include a 2015 revival of the musical "Gigi," which is bound for Broadway for the first time in more than 40 years.

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